A letter to my daughter on the morning of November 9th, 2016
This is not the world I wanted you to wake up to this morning.
I was so desperate to be able to tell you that your home country had elected its first female president. You wouldn’t, of course, have understood, but as you start to learn about your world in the coming years I wanted to be able to point to this as evidence that you, like all girls, can achieve anything you set your mind and heart to.
But more importantly than that, I wanted to know that regardless of gender, the more inclusive, tolerant, respectful, decent, generous leader had been chosen for you. A woman who has dedicated most of her adult life to public service, rather than private interest. A woman who has fought for equality, rather than being a proponent of misogyny. A woman who has championed the case of minorities for decades, rather than maligning them. A woman who vehemently believes that the strong have a duty to help the weak.
Instead, I woke up just as I did the morning after Brexit and shed tears for the world you are growing up in. This decision is not an American problem; it is a societal problem. Just as with Brexit, I worry that this decision will legitimise hateful sentiment towards minorities. I worry that people will come to see bullying as an acceptable way to exert influence. I worry that integrity, honesty and substance will no longer be valued, because these are not the examples being set at the top.
On Monday night, when Hillary Clinton spoke so passionately on a stage just three blocks from where you were born, she urged people to vote for a selfless, ‘big-hearted’ country. I want you to grow up in a world where this is at the core of society wherever we live – where everyone looks out for those most in need, and where this is a principle that guides everyday decisions. I hope that in the future we will have the opportunity to vote to return this world for you. And in the meantime we will do everything we can to set that example for you at home, so one day you can take it out to the world yourself.
This morning I cried again as I read the beautiful greeting you received from the White House after you were born. In it, Barack and Michelle Obama conclude ‘May you always dream big dreams.’ This is not the world I wanted you to wake up to this morning, but keep dreaming: one day it will be.
All my love,